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Dogue de Bordeaux colour genetics

Hi, I'm hoping to pick the collective brains on this one.

On a show/breeding forum I'm on, the question of DDBs with black masks has come up. It's the first time I've heard of this colour variation but there are a few around in Europe and the UK. All I know is the black masking is dominant (which makes sense).

A couple of breeders are wondering about it and as they don't have much genetrics knowledge it's set me wondering about the DDB and what's known.

If you'd asked me yesterday to guess what the genotype of a DDB is, I'd probably have said something like ee bb. Now i am beginning to wonder.

I'm pretty sure that bb is involved, to give the overall red colouring and the red nose. But I'm now doubting the ee part, as obviously a black-masked DDB is not going to be anything as simple as ee BB. The mask has to come from somewhere! So now i'm leaning towards E(m) possibly. But does that mean the usual red/gold DDBs are E(m) bb? I would have expected a much denser red/brown 'mask' if so.

If it turns out the black masked ones are something like E(m)BB while the usual type are ee bb then breeders are going to see some odd and unexpected variations in the density/amount of deep red pigment.

Unless of course, DDBs are something different, a variation on liver sable for instance?

I'd liek to be able to give something helpful to the question on the forum which will make sense to the breeders asking.

Daylene Alford Tue, 06/14/2011 - 08:49

The easiest way to tell if a dog is bb is the brown nose. If any of them are EM the mask and nose will be black unless they also are bb then the mask and nose will be brown. If they are ee the nose will still be brown just the red coloring won't be affected.

Hope that helps

Lantokay Tue, 06/14/2011 - 15:57

In reply to by Daylene Alford

Thanks :)
The obsession with 'strong pigment' seems to take hold here, so a black-masked dog might well be preferred over a brown masked. I've had feedback from the breeders who say they are after a deep pigment in the nose leather, which is seen more in the brown masked and black masked, than the clear reds (latter being ee I would say).

Of course in the show world the colour is the least important part of the dog - health, temmperament and construction being foremost, but I would not like to see variations of colour which are still within breed standard, disappear.

We've got this in the Belgian Malinois over here - the very pale cream ones (usually referred to as 'grey') are now extinct and I think are also gone from mainland Europe, both in show and working lines (the latter like them very dark, kind of 'burnt toast'!). Sadly the FCI breed standard excludes the greys/creams - although that's flexible depending on country, but the British KC standard doesn't discriminate and they are allowable (we've had Champion 'grey' Tervuerens).

It is such an attractive variation, and recessive too.... I am always very drawn by the cream Tervs, so providing the dog underneath is good enough then it's a shame to see something like that die out and be genetically unrecoverable. Wouldn't like to see the red/gold ee Dogues disappear as they are also recessive to the other two genotypes, and the moret ha black-masked are included in breeding, the fewer the red/gold will become over time.